Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention (ATOP)
Officers, Board of Advisors, UN Representatives, Interns & Volunteers 2020-2021
Officers: Executive Committee is comprised of Officers and Coordinators
- Dr. Ani Kalayjian, Founder & President. 135 Cedar Street, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, United Nations Main Representative, DrKalayjian@Meaningfulworld.com
- Upuli Ranaweera, B.A., Treasurer, 4107 42nd St, Apt 6E, Sunnyside, N.Y. 11103; Upulee2002@yahoo.com
- Meredith Carbonell, M.A., (Intern Coordinator), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sowmya Singh Thakur-Kshtriya, M.A., United Nations Coordinator, email@example.com
- Meira Yasin, Ph.D., Educational Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Janelle Junkin, Ph.D., Graduate Fellows Coordinator, email@example.com
- Natasha Morales-Rivera, M.A. Research Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lorraine J. Simmons, M.A., Advisor, email@example.com
Board of Advisors:
- Stace Wills, the Strongest Oak Foundation, Calgary, AB, Canada.
- Aurel Mocanu, Str. ScarlatVarnav 20, sc. APT 2, 710088 BOTOSANI, O.P. 5 ROMANIA, Aurelmocanu@yahoo.com
- Dr. Anthony Marsella, Professor, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Beth Hedva, Calgary, Canada. BH@DrBethHedva.com
- Dr. Grace Feuerverger, Toronto, Canada.
- ArmanVardanyan, M.D., Mental Health Foundation, Armenia. Vardanyan@hotmail.com
- Dr. Brigitte Khouri, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, BK03@AUB.edu.lb
- Dr. Evelin Linder, Humiliation Studies, Columbia University, Teachers College, 525 W 125 St, NY. email@example.com
- Alma Polo, Ph.D., Iberoamericana University, Mexico City, MX. Alma.Polo@Ibero.MX
- Dan Moody, Global Peace Partners, Virginia, VA. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Loren Toussaint, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Luther College 700 College Dr. Decorah, IA, 52101, email@example.com.
- Johnanne Winchester, Advisor. 646-460-2876. Johnannewin@gmail.com
Board of Directors:
Natalia Maria Tomassini, M.Ed., firstname.lastname@example.org
Fellows & Interns:
- Kwadjo, Owusu-Sarfo, Ph.D., Graduate Fellow at the United Nations, email@example.com
- Nicole Zamkoff, D.O., Graduate Fellow at United Nations, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jasmin Guevarra, Secretary, and Intern at the United Nations, email@example.com
- Frida Huerta, Intern at United Nations, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Daisy Runyu, M.A., Outreach Intern, email@example.com
- Erin Antona, Research Intern & Assistant Educational Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Star, Chidimma Ibezim, Social Media Intern, email@example.com
- Samantha Raymond, Research Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kat Antunes, Research and Outreach Intern, email@example.com
- Isly Benton, B.A., Intern, Grants Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ted Rosner, United Nations Intern for ATOP Meaningfulworld, email@example.com
- Jocelyn Chu, Fundraising Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sanket Chordiya, M.S., Software Engineer, email@example.com
Out of State/Country:
- Shayla Tumbling, Research & Outreach. 510 Old Hickory Blvd., Apt #1204, Nashville, TN 37209. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Karin Polak Soweid, Research. 5650 S. Kyrene Road # 1301 Tempe, AZ 85283. KarinSoweid@gmail.com
- Abigail Ortega, L.C.S.W., Founder, California Chapter, email@example.com
Dr. Kalayjian, Founder & President of the Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention, Meaningfulworld, is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University with Masters and Doctoral Degrees, and Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from LIU. Currently, she is a Graduate Adj. Psychology faculty in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College Mind-Body- Spirit Dept., and in Private Integrative Healing Practice. She has been consulting at UN since 1988 as representative of a variety of organizations, currently representing ATOP Meaningfulworld, and ACRPC. She has been the Vice President of UN NGO DPI Executive Committee, Treasurer of the Human Rights Committee, Corresponding Secretary, & Currently Vice Chair of the Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, Chair of Annual DPI NGO Conf. and organized 4-6 annual conferences at the UN on Prevention of Genocide, Mind-body-eco- spirit health, engendering inner peace and forgiveness, & dignity for all. She is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, Fellow of several Divisions at APA, Chair, Health, Transformation & Spirituality, Working Group of UN CSVGC, President, Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress & Genocide, Chair of APA International Division’s Disaster Mitigation and Violence Prevention Committee, and Women’s Committee. She has received Alumni of the Year Award from TC Columbia University, ANA Human Rights Award, APA Div 52 Mentoring Award, and Humanitarian Award from the University of Missouri. She is the author of an internationally acclaimed book on Disaster & Mass Trauma, Chief Editor of an international book on Forgiveness & Reconciliation: Psychological pathways to conflict transformation and peace building (Springer Publishing), Chief Editor of II Volumes on Emotional Healing around the World: Rituals and practices for resilience and meaning-making (Greenwood, ABC-CLIO, 2010), meditation CD on Ancestral Healing and Transforming Generational Trauma, as well as 7 films on Humanitarian Outreach Programs to Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, RD Congo, Sierra Leone, Armenia, and Haiti.
Johnanne Winchester is a former Vice President of International Alliances for the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations. In her professional capacity as a media producer and communications consultant, she develops communications applications and technical solutions for International Organizational Development. As a systems architect, she collaborates with professional colleagues and artists, designing model strategies for branding, public relations, education, training, and inter-active mass participation in media based communications platforms in all formats. Her primary Global and Planetary focus is International Alliances of Networks, and co-operative joint venture systems in: Education, Financing and Training for Sustainable Development; Peace and Multi-Cultural Education; and Innovation Management Training. She has worked in the UN Community since 1979, consulting in the founding of the UN ICT (Information Communication Technology) Task Force and other UN Media outreach programs. Since 2003, she has been based part-time in China and the Asia-Pacific region, developing programs with UNDP, UNESCO, various International Chambers of Commerce, and affiliated organizations. Currently serving on the Boards of the Tri-State Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions, and the Lawfare Project, she is also on the Development Committee, and a special adviser to the Executive Director, of the former UN International Year of Planet Earth, now the Earth Science Matters Foundation. As a program of the Planet Earth Roundtable, she is currently developing a Resilient Communities Program to synthesize the range of issues including Earth Changes, Financial and Economic Systems Transformation, and training programs directed at Mayors and local governing councils and activist/advocates for disaster prediction, remediation, and adaptation. Ms. Winchester has been appointed as the Senior Advisor and United Nations Representative to ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Dr. Loren Toussaint is an associate professor in the department of psychology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He has served as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic and is currently associate director of the Sierra Leone Forgiveness Project. The main objective of Dr. Toussaint’s research is to broadly understand religious and spiritual factors, especially forgiveness, and how they are related to mental and physical health and well-being. He has published a number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and scientific book chapters, and authored dozens of conference presentations and invited talks in Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Greece, and the United States. Dr. Toussaint has been involved in forgiveness research in Australia, Chile, Germany, India, Korea, Lithuania, Spain, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Switzerland. Dr. Toussaint has worked with colleagues at Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Medical Center to understand the role of forgiveness in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, spinal cord injury, and substance use. He continues to seek new avenues in which to better understand and incorporate forgiveness in medicine. Another central piece of his work has been ongoing since 2007 when he began a Peace Through Forgiveness initiative in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford University and the Dele-Peddle International school in Sierra Leone. Dr. Toussaint directs the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit at Luther College, and has mentored over 50 students studying in this laboratory. Several of these students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed research papers and presentations. Recently the lab was awarded funding from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest for a project titled, A Collaborative Scholarship Model for Liberal Arts Colleges: Applications for the Psychology of Forgiveness. This work involves the collaboration of laboratories at Luther and Grinnell Colleges to investigate psycho-spiritual approaches to promoting forgiveness. Dr. Toussaint’s research has been highlighted in a number of print, online, and radio media outlets such as: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Des Moines Register, Greater Good, Miller-McCune, Ladies Home Journal, Scotland on Sunday, Men’s Health, Psychology Today, and the Associated Press.
Stace is a social entrepreneur with a life-long passion for international development, language and culture, and technology. Prior to launching TSO, Stace served as co-founder and Global Director of Fire and Ice – an award-winning Corporate Social Responsibility program of one of the world’s leading educational technology firms, Elluminate Inc. (now Blackboard Inc.). Under Fire and Ice, Stace successfully managed over 30 social development projects in collaborative education, poverty reduction, and climate change, involving over 5000 participants from 25+ countries. He has also pioneered several online training programs targeting nurses and teachers in remote regions, as well as facilitated thousands of dollars in donations of computer technology and internet connectivity to economically-challenged communities in Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, and Kenya. Stace’s projects have been recognized with several awards, including finalist for the Stockholm Challenge Awards in 2008, and 2007 Laureate for the Tech Museum Award (Microsoft Education Category). His Fire and Ice initiative helped Elluminate be named as one of the Top Ten Best Corporations in Global Development by InterAction in 2008. In 2009-10, Stace co-launched a distance training initiative for remote nurses in West Africa, a project in which Stace’s partner, Jules Ouedraogo, was recently awarded the AGFUND International 2010 Prize. Stace has been featured by international media including CNN.com, The Financial Post, Education Week, CBC, CTV and others. He speaks French, as well as some Spanish and Polish, and is learning Kinyarwanda. Stace received his Canadian Investment Management (CIM) designation in 1998, and a Bachelor of Commerce degree (International Marketing specialization) from the University of Calgary in 1991, where he was named to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor.
Ms.Ranaweera has completed her studies in Marketing with an MBA in Sri Lanka and professional qualification in UK. She has worked for many top organizations in Sri Lanka. She was actively involved in social service through the Lions Club of Sri Lanka, a prominent social service organization in her country. She volunteered for ATOP during their Post Tsunami Humanitarian Mission for Sri Lanka in 2005. She is the Treasurer for ATOP.
Natasha Morales-Rivera M.A.
Natasha is a graduate student in the Clinical and Counseling Psychology Master’s program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently part of the Sexuality Women and Gender Project, the first New York State approved certificate program in Sexuality Women and Gender in Psychology and Education. She has a master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico. In 2011 she was awarded the APA student travel grant and is Coauthor of the Suicide interventions skills training 1,2,3 con Personas en Riesgo Suicida designed for the University de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Her thesis “Performance Management in the virtual workplace: an evaluation of the role of the supervisor in teleworker satisfaction” was presented at the XIV European Congress of Psychology in Milan, Italy. She has published in several journals in both Spanish and in English. Her previous work is related to cultural adaptation of psychometric instruments, training, program evaluation, scale development, telework, remote supervision and occupational health psychology. Ms. Morales-Rivera is passionate about research focused on social justice, equality, human rights, and eradication of violence against women and minorities. She has done volunteer work as mental health interpreter for Spanish speaking populations at New York State Psychiatric Institute and currently serves as student ambassador for Teachers College. She has also worked as research assistant for Teachers College Resilience Center for Veterans and Families where she led the Veteran Cultural Competence Training Program. She is a founding member of the APA Division 19 student chapter and served as the first APA division 19 student representative. She was also part of a research project that explored the experiences of racial microaggressions among African Americans using Consensual Qualitative Research. Her research interests are focused on minority mental health, culturally sensitive approaches, LGBTQ mental health and military sexual trauma. Meaningfulworld welcomes Natasha as Research Committee Coordinator!
Sowmya Kshtriya has recently graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with a Masters in Clinical Psychology (Class of 2017). She loves to create a positive impact in people’s lives and is very dedicated to her mission of helping people realize that we are all fundamentally connected, and thereby hold the inherent responsibility to help each other in times of need. She identifies herself as a Global Citizen, and is very passionate about Mental Health and its intersection with Global Humanitarian Issues. She joined MeaningfulWorld because she zealously believes in Dr. Ani’s mission and purpose, “To prepare a generation of conscientious individuals who are guided by love, peace, passion, and meaning,” and avers that this is the first big step towards fulfilling our aspirations towards a one-world community, to creating a more meaningful and impactful future. She aspires to advance research and clinical initiatives in helping ameliorate mental health issues for disadvantaged individuals across the globe, who are victims of trauma induced by natural or human-made adversities; and feels very grateful to be a part of the ATOP Meaningfulworld Team.
Meira Yasin, Ph.D. Educational Coordinator
Meira completed a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree in 2009 and worked in the areas of Women’s Health, Neurology, Neurosurgery/Neurology intensive care, Medical/Surgical, and Mental Health. In 2016, she completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) as a Family Nurse Practitioner and then completed a post-doctorate Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate program in 2017. She has done global health and provided care to people in underserved areas locally and abroad, with a focus on trauma-informed care and adverse childhood experiences. Dr. Yasin served as an Assistant Professor in the East Tennessee State University College of Nursing undergraduate programs, where she practiced as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in the student health on campus. She has experience working in community mental health with different populations, including children in the foster care system and those with PTSD. She is passionate about helping to address health disparities for vulnerable populations and decrease mental health stigmas. Currently she works in a private practice as a DNP seeing patients for mental health care in the DMV area. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, working out, drinking coffee, reading, traveling, and meeting new people. Meaningfulworld welcomes Dr. Yasin as the Educational Coordinator!
Nicole Zamkoff, D.O., Graduate Fellow at United Nations
Nicole Zamkoff received her doctoral degree from Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017. She completed her intern year in Family Medicine at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees, NJ. She received a bachelor’s degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology from Indiana University Bloomington. Nicole will be continuing her education in psychology with NYU in their Master’s program for Mental Health and Wellness Counseling. Nicole will also be receiving an advanced certificate in LGBT Health, Education, and Social Services. As a physician by education, her approach is predicated on an evaluation of patients – health status, access to health care, and holistic wellness. Prior to medical school Nicole volunteered in Nakuru, Kenya where she found inspiration to work with women, specifically in the areas of sexuality and reproductive health. Post- graduation she spent a year in Israel teaching English and STEM to children in both urban and peripheral communities. There she also worked with female refugees from Eritrea giving lectures in empowerment and women’s health. Dr. Zamkoff has a passion for assisting individuals in finding comfort and strength in their gender, sexuality, and related experiences. Through MeaningfulWorld, she will work to develop projects with an aim to empower women while respecting and learning about differences in culture related to gender and sexuality. In the future, Nicole plans to be involved in related initiatives on a global scale. She hopes to fulfill the Meaningfulworld mission of becoming a more conscientious individual guided by peace, love, passion, and meaning. Meaningfulworld welcomes Dr. Zamkoff as a Graduate Fellow at the United Nation!
Jasmin Guevarra, Secretary and Intern at United Nations
Jasmin Guevarra is a student at Montclair State University double majoring in Medical Humanities & Psychology. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is most interested in doing research on multicultural psychology in order to help others heal despite cultural differences. She also wants to encourage Asian-Americans to provide care for their mental health through psychotherapy as it is even more stigmatized in Asian cultures. She plans on opening her own private practice. Jasmin joined MeaningfulWorld as their mission and goals are aligned with her goals. Through MeaningfulWorld, she wants to expand her knowledge in humanistic and holistic healing, mental health, and also research about cultural sensitivity. Jasmin is passionate about giving back to her community, and make a difference in her community as well as the world. Meaningfulworld welcomes Jasmin as a Recording Secretary as well as Intern at the United Nations!
Erin Antoniae, Research Intern & Assistant Educational Coordinator
Erin is currently a senior at Montclair State University, completing her bachelor’s degree with a major in Family Science and Human Development and a minor in Social Work. She is currently a Global Ambassador at Montclair State University, where she is a mentor to international students from different countries and universities. Erin’s past experiences include volunteering at a geriatric agency in Essex county and working in an inclusive teaching environment with children in a daycare setting. She plans to continue her education and obtain a Master’s degree to pursue her dream of becoming a transpersonal psychotherapist and start a private practice. She joined Meaningfulworld in hopes of expanding her knowledge in the field of mental health, holistic healing, and self- development. Erin’s current research interests include transforming racism and emotional intelligence. Being an intern for ATOP MeaningfulWorld aligns very strongly with Erin’s future plans and she hopes to gain lots of experiences as well as positively impacting her community.
Meaningfulworld welcomes Erin!
Frida Huerta, B.S., Intern at the United Nations
Frida has a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology and certification in Dispute Resolution from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC, class of 2020. She is passionate about listening to others to uplift them, which correlates with the Meaningfulworld motto: “When one helps another, BOTH become stronger!” She is dedicated to the Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention and will be its United Nations intern. She hopes to find a career that advocates goodwill and mindfulness around the world. Frida is also passionate about research, restorative mediation & meditation methods as it relates to conflict transformation. She wants to educate her community on how to become a mindful and conscientious listener and effective communicator.
Meaningfulworld welcomes Frida as a Meaningfulworld Intern at the United Nations!
Samantha Raymond, Research Intern
Samantha Raymond is a student at Montclair State University, currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Family Science and Human Development with a concentration in Gerontology. Her long-term goal is doing research in the geriatrics field because that’s what she is truly passionate about. She is currently working on a research project at Montclair State, studying forgiveness and friendship in the older generations. Her passion and professional goals align very well with what MeaningfulWorld stands for as an organization, with humanistic and holistic healing the self and communities around us. She enjoys traveling and loves experiencing new cultures.
Meaningfulworld welcomes Samantha as a Research Intern.
Kat Antunes, Research and Outreach Intern
Kat Antunes is an undergraduate student at the American University in Washington, D.C. pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Kat was born in France and moved to New York at the age of two. She is passionate about working towards advancing human rights and social justice, as well as helping underprivileged communities. As a high school student, Kat was an intern for a nonprofit organization titled “Little Hands Can” that hosts after-school programs at local public elementary schools for children who are unable to go home after the school day. Within the district, there is a large percentage of students who try to cope with challenges in their daily lives, such as homelessness or abuse. Kat also worked as a counselor for Courageous Kids, a summer camp that created a safe environment designed to normalize feelings and help children and teens express and process their grief. Upon graduation, Kat plans on working in the area of international human rights, upholding the rights for genders, racial minorities, as well as queer folks. She is excited to intern for Meaningfulworld as she believes it will provide various educational opportunities that will help her move forward in the humanitarian sector. Meaningfulworld welcomes Kat as a research and grants intern.
Isly has recently graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a B.A., a double major in Anthropology and Arts History. She is joining ATOP’s Grant Committee; her goal is to be part of the vital efforts to expand the resources of MeaningfulWorld while also improving her skills and understanding of grant writing. Her past background in archiving, research, and rehabilitation work have sparked her interest in humanitarian and nonprofit work. She is very passionate about MeaningfulWorld’s intersectional approach to understanding trauma, healing, and mental health. She is excited to be part of helping her community and working towards improving her interpersonal connections through empathy. Isly’s future include continuing her education in social justice and environmentalism, with an understanding of the long-term impact on people’s mental health.
Ted Rosner, United Nations Intern for ATOP Meaningfulworld
Ted Rosner is a United Nations’ intern at MeaningfulWorld. Ted has committed to human rights and international affairs since graduation from University. Ted earned his B.A. in Global Studies from Sacred Heart University where he was recognized as the University’s Study Abroad Ambassador. Ted also earned a graduate certificate in International Relations from Harvard University. A life-long New Yorker, Ted is passionate about improving the lives of people in his community and seeks to make a contribution to the futures of many people of diverse cultures across the globe. Ted believes that a meaningful life is the greatest goal one can work towards and this can be achieved only through a commitment to goodness, empathy, and morally guided positive actions for social justice. Meaningfulworld welcomes Ted as a United Nations Intern.
Sanket Chordiya, MS, Software Engineer
Sanket Chordiya has recently graduated from Pace University, New York with a Masters degree in Computer Science (Class of 2020). He feels Computer Science is a field that has tremendous potential to affect the lives of people. With 6 years of professional education and 2 years of industrial experience working as Jr Software Developer in hand he is here at Meaningful World to build healthier communities and improve quality of human lives with technology. He wants to make world a better place than what he sees with constant perseverance. He has a motto in mind to build bridge of technology between community and health care. Knowing that Meaningful World’s work improves lives, itself brings a new energy in him each day for working more and better. He is compassionate, dedicated and hardworking. Meaningful World welcomes Sanket as a Software Engineer Intern.
Past officers and interns:
Meredith Carbonell has a Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and a Bachelors from New York University in Human Rights and Genocide Studies. She is a trained mediator, negotiator and researcher. She has conducted research on peace building in Uganda, Israel and Jordan. Prior to becoming the intern coordinator, she was a United Nations intern for Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention (ATOP) Meaningfulworld. Her academic interests consist of human rights, genocide, conflict resolution, trauma, and peace building. She completed Humanitarian Relief and Peace Building Program and will be graduating in June as a Meaningfulworld Ambassador for Humanitarian Relief.
Amna Khan is currently a Master’s student at Teachers College Columbia University in Clinical Psychology (Class of 2019). She completed her undergraduate studies at Hunter College, receiving a Bachelors degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Linguistics. Her past experiences include being a tutor and TA for an undergraduate level class as well as volunteering at hospitals. She has also conducted research with depressed and suicidal individuals in a suicide research lab at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She is currently working in a lab with a professor at Teachers College using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to code expressions of bereaved individuals and has recently completed a masters level thesis on Ethnic Identity in Adolescence under the guidance of Dr. Kalayjian. Her academic and research interests include developmental psychology, child psychopathology, social and cross-cultural psychology. She hopes to continue serving her community through her work with children and adolescents from various cultural backgrounds. Amna is looking forward to a meaningful internship!
Irene Tananyan received Master of Science degree in Mathematics from Moscow Pedagogical University, and a BA in Economics from Queens College. Currently, she is completing her fourth and final year at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing with the degree in Brennan Energy-Healing Practitioner. Over the years, she has been a secondary school teacher, an accountant, a personal finance adviser, and a fulltime mom. Irene has now found her passion and is studying in the Meaningfulworld Ambassador for Humanitarian Relief and Peace Building Program, and will be graduating in June 2016.
Patricia Mura Desert is a Master’s degree Candidate at the Columbia University School of Social Work graduating in May of 2019. Her degree concentration is in Social Enterprise Administration with a special focus on mental health, and health and disabilities. She has ten years of experience in the field of human services working with diverse vulnerable populations. Patricia is the founder of Vision League, an organization aiming to assist Caribbean students in the United States who are survivors of sexual trauma. She has authored a non-fiction novel based on her childhood in Haiti called “In Beautiful Shadow: The Sunrise.” Patricia has also contributed to an academic publication on screening women for Intimate Partner Violence in the Emergency room. She joined ATOP MeaningfulWorld, in 2018.
Dr. Leslie Popoff began her career as a school psychologist in rural Pennsylvania during the time that the Education for All Children with Disabilities Law was first enacted. She developed a specialization with the visually and hearing impaired, working in the Scranton State School for the Deaf, followed by NYC’s first evaluation unit for the visually and hearing impaired, and then serving for ten years as the psychologist for the Helen Keller National Center. Dr. Popoff worked for 15 years as a Supervisor of Psychologists for the New York City Department of Education. She received her BS in Human Ecology from Cornell University, a Master’s in Educational Psychology from NYU, and a Ph.D. from Fordham University. Trained in divorce mediation and dispute resolution, Dr. Popoff also holds a Postdoctoral Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from Adelphi University. She enjoys skiing, biking, playing the banjo, and singing in a community chorus. She maintains a private Practice in Great Neck, NY, and serves as the UN Coordinator for Meaningfulworld.
Lorraine Simmons is Vice President for Clinical and Educational Programs for ATOP Meaningfulworld. Lorraine became a Meaningfulworld HumanitarianOutreach Ambassador and completed a successful mission to Haiti in June 2015. She received a BFA in Fine Arts and a BS in education from the University of Southern Maine in 1982 and is certified in Art therapy. She has worked in the New York City school system as a teacher and a parent coordinator. Lorraine volunteers at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine as a licensed Lay Eucharistic Minister, Altar Server, Altar guild and Vestry member, she is also an acting member of the Order of Urban Missioners. She has experience assisting with choreography and organizing the volunteers at the Cathedral for major services. Lorraine has experience with fundraising in both schools and in the church. Her latest creation are Meaningfulworld-Heart-Hug-
Erin is a Masters student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College at Columbia University. She has extensive experience in research and clinical work with those affected by trauma and a focus on culturally-informed treatment for trauma. Erin has her Bachelors of Science degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has over seven years of experience in psychological research and clinical treatment. She has worked on research in Child Sexual Abuse trauma, an interest she has maintained in graduate school. Erin was a research assistant with project SAFE (Sexual Abuse Family Education) with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, assisting in data collection and input. On this project, Erin also was a Spanish-English interpreter for therapy sessions. Along with trauma research, Erin plans to continue her research in Eating Disorders and had an internship with Children’s Hospital of Omaha’s Eating Disorder Program. This internship turned into a Psychiatric Technician position for her second year with the program and Erin also worked with anxiety and ADHD in children and adolescents. In addition, before attending Teachers College, Erin held a research assistant position at St. Lukes-Roosevelt, researching trauma-informed interactions with those in juvenile detention programs in New York City. After attaining her Master’s degree, Erin hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Nanar Nakashian holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Information Technology and Social Responsibility from Baruch College, City University of New York. She is a Research Assistant at the Perception Lab at Baruch College, and interns at the Rebecca School, which specializes in teaching students that have neurodevelopmental disorders. Along with directing summer camps in Jerusalem, she has volunteered at the Happy Child Center for children with special needs in Ramallah. Having been born to an Armenian family in Jerusalem, where she was also raised, Nanar has been exposed to various cultures from a young age. Prior to coming to New York, she spent two years in California, where she attended college. She speaks four languages, including Armenian, English, Arabic and Hebrew, and often uses her intercultural skills to enrich her service to others.
Cheyenne Clardy is currently a 2nd-year Psychology Master’s student at Pace University with a focus in Global Psychology. Alumna at the College of Staten Island with a BA in International Studies. She is a self-published author and poet of “Behind the Facade”. Cheyenne uses her experiences to humanize mental health, wellbeing and other aspects that affect everyone. She is also an advocate for mental health, global trauma, equality, and women’s gender and sexuality rights. If she is not researching and working on creative projects, she often volunteers with the Muslim Sisters of Staten Island (M.S.S.I); another community outreach group in Staten Island. Since 2016, she has worked with them on various projects which varied from feeding the community during Ramadan, collecting hats, scarves, and garments for the homeless to assisting with art expositions and being a guest poet at their “My Faith, My Mental Health” panel in October 2019. Although she is non-Muslim, she has always enjoyed learning and working with different groups of people across all backgrounds. “If you want to be culturally competent you have to challenge your biases and perception of the world. And most of all Listen to understand, not listen to respond,” is the belief she follows whether it is through academic and professional work or interacting with others. Her current research involves mental health literacy, cross-cultural analysis on mental health, and the stigma. Back in November 24th, 2019 she presented at the 31st Greater New York Conference on behavioral science titled, “Intersectionality: The Open Door to Mental Health Stigma and Cultural Competence.” The research places emphasis on how mental health is handled, accessible, and perceived across the globe. Being an integral member of the Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention, at Meaningfulworld, Ms. Clardy is passionate to expand on her research and delve into her emotions and achieve a deeper understanding of herself.
E. Christabel “Belle” Unobe, is a development practitioner with a Masters in International Development & Social Change from Clark University, Worcester, MA. She has extensive experience working with marginalized populations and communities in sub-Saharan Africa, the United States, and Internationally. She possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience advocating for inclusion of youth in decision-making processes. She has researched and written on women and girls rights and health. Belle intends to pursue research around transitional and transnational justice especially as it is influenced by gender and religion. Presently, Belle is undertaking a research in understanding the challenges of resettlement of Syrian Refugees in the Tri-State area.
Bryant Zuniga graduated from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a Masters in International Affairs (Class of 2016). He concentrated on International Security Policy and specialized in International Conflict Resolution. He believes strongly in being a positive force in the lives of those he meets, pushing them to improve, and realize their potential. Mr. Zuniga currently works as the Coordinator for a non-profit organization and has planned a career in service to the public since we he was a small child. His long-term professional goal is to develop and guide foreign policy in the U.S., to improve foreign relations with other nations. Mr. Zuniga has a deep commitment to human rights, conflict resolution, social justice, and global solidarity. He is eager and grateful to be working with the ATOP Meaningfulworld team and looks forward to the knowledge, and experiences that will come from his time as a Fellow.
Nina Vorster, BSc(Hons), Summer Intern at the United Nation
Nina is a recent graduate from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa where she studied Genetics. During her undergraduate studies she was involved with the University’s community outreach programs and in her final year was the coordinator for two after school reading and art programs. She hopes to one day be able to help and council people with rare genetic disorders and as such wants to spend her time at Meaningfulworld learning as much about factors influencing and impacting people’s mental health and well-being. Additionally, she is very excited about learning how the United Nations impacts the world through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); and the role that NGO’s play in helping civil societies to achieve these goals.
Itunu Ademoyo, Website Intern
Itunu Ademoyo is a student at Rose Hill Campus of Fordham University. She is a junior currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marketing. She is currently working with a professor at Fordham University concerning diversity, disparities, and development among adolescents. She has conducted research on Urban ecology with Wildlife Conservative Society. Itunu is currently an intern with the Association for Trauma Outreach and Presentation (ATOP) Meaningful World, an international organization educating on healing, preventing, and researching natural and human-made traumas. Her academic interests include Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Developmental Psychology.
Rambabu Talluri, BA, MSW, LLB and LLM, Graduate Fellow at the United Nations
Rambabu Talluri is recent graduate from Widener Law School, in Delaware State, USA. Mr. Talluri’s volunteer activities demonstrate his dedication to protecting rights, creating peace, and contributing to social justice. He has derived much satisfaction from helping others, and that service has cemented his passionate belief that everyone has a right to (1) receive an education, (2) have adequate shelter for children, and (3) be treated with dignity as a person. He passionately believes that society’s leaders must be socially responsible. Mr. Talluri conducts research in legal and social issues (qualitative and quantitative), he is a Human Rights defender and fundraiser for a range of nonprofit organizations. He is an authorized facilitator for the Stewards of Children Training program by Darkness to Light for Beau Biden Foundation. He is also a research fellow for the Environmental Constitutionalism for Asian Pacific. Mr. Talluri is so glad that he found a path towards his dream with ATOP MeaningfulWorld and he hopes to successfully complete the International Graduate Fellowship at United Nations and nurture his dream of helping people who are going through life challenges. Meaningfulworld welcomes Rambubu as a Graduate Fellow at the United Nations.
Dr. Elizabeth Zick is a clinical psychologist, who has been working with children and families involved in the New York City foster care system for the past 10 years, providing individual, group, and family psychotherapy, conducting psychological assessments, and supervising doctoral level psychology interns and externs. She is a clinical supervisor at the doctoral programs of Long Island University and the City College of New York, and has taught undergraduate psychology courses at City College and Brooklyn College. She also conducts forensic psychological evaluations for Health Right International with refugees applying for asylum status in the United States and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Brooklyn. Dr. Zick received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Child and Family Institute of St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital. She received an additional year of postdoctoral training in family therapy at the Ackerman Institute of the Family.
Remila Jasharllari, United Nations Intern
Remila Jasharllari was born and raised in Albania. She is currently an undergraduate student at Bergen Community College, New Jersey, majoring in Business Administration. She has a strong passion for international relations and diplomacy studies, which she will follow up upon graduating from Bergen Community College and transferring to Columbia University, NYC. Remila aspires to serve humanity at large and embraces globalization as a necessary tool for human connection. Besides being involved with Model United Nations in BCC, which served as a stepping stone for her career with UN, she has a keen interest in transforming human trafficking, forced servitude, and other human rights issues. She is the student leader of the International Justice Mission Chapter in BCC, and also a chapter officer of Phi Theta Kappa, a community college society that fosters academic excellence and community service. She has also closely worked with the Office of Specialized Services in BCC, serving as a peer mentor for students with specialized services. She finds herself aligned with ATOP Meaningfulworld as she looks forward to enriching her career. Meaningfulworld welcomes Remila as a United Nations Intern. from Bergen Community College and transferring to Columbia University, NYC. Remila aspires to serve humanity at large and embraces globalization as a necessary tool for human connection. Besides being involved with Model United Nations in BCC, which served as a stepping stone for her career with UN, she has a keen interest in transforming human trafficking, forced servitude, and other human rights issues. She is the student leader of the International Justice Mission Chapter in BCC, and also a chapter officer of Phi Theta Kappa, a community college society that fosters academic excellence and community service. She has also closely worked with the Office of Specialized Services in BCC, serving as a peer mentor for students with specialized services. She finds herself aligned with ATOP Meaningfulworld as she looks forward to enriching her career.
Michelle Aslanyan, BA, International Fellow at the United Nations
Michelle received Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, CA in Global Studies. Currently, she is a Master’s student in Global Thought at Columbia University, NYC. She has worked with unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle in assisting them with acclimating to American culture and English language and achieving social academic goals. In New York City, she works with underserved students in Harlem to provide comprehensive support to encourage student engagement and academic achievement. Michelle finds trends and commonalities among students’ responses and accordingly coordinates further assistance in Global History. Michelle worked on a cross-disciplinary study, called The UCLA High School Diversity Project, which studied the effects of ethnic diversity in public schools in California. She worked as a Research Assistant for six months and was later chosen to be one of the Project Managers. She worked directly with high schools to coordinate data collection and managed the data after the acquisition.
Agwe Walter, Newsletter Editor & Research Intern
Agwe Walter was born and raised in the beautiful town of Mbengwi, North West region, Cameroon-west Africa. After graduating from the University of Yaounde I with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal anatomy and physiology-education, Walter was certified to teach High School Science/Biology Walter moved to the state of South Carolina, USA in 2014 through a foreign academic and cultural exchange program. He is currently a High School Biology teacher at Blackville-Hilda High school in SC. He has nine (9) years of full-time teaching experience. Walter is currently pursuing a certificate program in Radiation safety and protection at Aiken technical college and a Newsletter Editor & Research Intern at meaningfulworld.
Adiaat Islam, Outreach & Research
Adiaat Islam is a student at Queens college, currently pursuing a baccalaureate degree in biochemistry. She aspires to continue her education and acquire a master’s and PhD in public health. Adiaat was born in Bangladesh and moved to New York with her family at the age of Thirteen. She is an outstanding student who wants to help heal herself and the world. In Bangladesh, Adiaat has been engaged in many community services and has been involved with non-profit organizations such as: “1 Cent Meal,” and “Education for All,” where she helped underprivileged children get food and education, in exchange for just 1 cent. She is ambitious, passionate and hard working. She believes that migrating to the United States of America was a great opportunity for her, and she plans to take this amazing opportunity to become a contributing and conscientious citizen. Adiaat firmly believes that kindness and hard work can transform communities in distress. She intends to stay bold, confident, kind, and empathic while spreading positivity in this world.
Lemba Priscille Ngana, BS, MPH, International Fellow at the United Nations
Lemba Priscille Ngana is a graduate student of Public Health at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Priscille left her country at the tender age of 8 years and has lived in 7 countries both in Europe and Africa in the past sixteen years. Given the exposure, Priscille quickly discovered a passion for helping others, particularly in the health sector as well as helping make long-term positive changes within the new communities she found herself. She has volunteered in organizations such as the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (London), which focuses on reducing harm caused to families and stopping domestic violence across London. Moreover, whilst completing her Bachelor’s degree, she was elected the Vice President of the African/Caribbean society of her university, focusing on empowering Afro/Caribbean students with resources both inside and outside of her university. She enjoyed working alongside other university committees to drive positive change and partner for development. Priscille would like to start building her career in the humanitarian sector and is excited to join ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Melissa Bougdanos is currently an undergraduate senior at State University of New York Binghamton. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts in psychology in May 2016. She was born in the US but has lived abroad in Germany and Finland. She has also recently returned from a study abroad program in Thailand, where she was able to volunteer teaching English to elementary Thai students. During her time in Binghamton, Melissa was a mentor at Johnson City Middle school providing guidance and support to a student with learning disability, and she worked at the Institute for child development providing a warm, nurturing and supportive educational setting to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other related disorders. Melissa is excited to join an inspiring organization such as Meaningfulworld as secretary and UN intern and getting involved with humanitarian outreach programs while designing her graduate program.
Peter Battista, PsyD, ABPP – Research Coordinator
Dr. Battista is an Associate Director of Clinical Training and core faculty at Adler University in Chicago, IL. He earned Master of Arts and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and psychology from Canisius College. He is board certified in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and has a postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. His clinical interests include psychodynamic theory and practice, international psychology, trauma, diversity, social justice, and clinical supervision and training. He is a member of American Psychological Association, it’s International Division as well as the Division for Psychoanalysis. His current research involves working with Meaningfulworld to better understand the relationship between forgiveness, meaning-making, and one’s experience of traumatic events.
Zuhal was born in Istanbul Turkey and worked in copy-righting at the Music Commentators Professional Association. She moved to the United States with plans to expand her intellectual horizon and benefit from great opportunities here. She is currently studying psychology and business at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. Her goal is to work in diplomacy to improve people’s lives. Zuhal is overjoyed to have joined the Meaningfulworld team. She will be working with the Outreach and Research Committees. Zuhal is proud to work for Meaningfulworld because she admires the multiple humanitarian projects such as the ones in Haiti, Japan, and Turkey. Her dream is to transform suffering not only in her country of origin but also around the world. Zuhal believes that through her work with Meaningfulworld, she can make a substantial difference in people’s lives. Zuhal says, “I know this experience will not only bring meaning to my life, and better prepare me to help others, while also preparing me for the life of service that I dream of.”
Olatunde Deborrah Mojirayo was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada. She is an international undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, Canada majoring in International Development and Globalization. Deborrah aspires to be a tool of change and to help the lives of individuals in distress. She has been a member of the World University Service of Canada in her local university campus. She has helped and formed long lasting relationships with refugee students at her university being an immigrant herself. She worked as a research analyst and was on the board for can have children organization to assist children left orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. She has a keen interest in environmental sustainability, forced labor, environmental divestment and other human rights based issues. She had the opportunity of volunteering as a hospitality agent during the Annual Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences that was held at her university. Deborrah is passionate to serve humanity at large starting with herself and her local community. She is looking forward for her internship as she finds herself aligned with ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Mariam Ayvazyan is currently a Masters student at New York University studying Mental Health Counseling and Wellness. She is a graduate student of Adelphi University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. In her past, she has worked with children with developmental disabilities and severe Autism. After acquiring a Master’s degree from NYU, Mariam aspires to work with traumatized populations, specifically individuals who have suffered domestic abuse or are victims of sexual harassment. Mariam’s passions are aligned with Meaningfulworld’s mission, and she is looking forward to gain more knowledge about how people cope with their challenges and she will incorporate integrative healing modalities in her future practice as a licensed clinician.
Milac Hassan was born in Florida and raised in New Jersey. She is of Palestinian descent. Milac is currently a freshman at Montclair State University, striving to achieve her masters is Psychology. She is passionate about helping others and creating a world in which we love each other. She, just like Meaningfulworld, believes that once we help each other, we can both begin to grow. Milac has volunteered for organizations called Walk for Water and Ray of Sunshine, which aid in humanitarian efforts both locally and globally. She also took part in clubs at her school such as the Big Sister program, where she would serve as a helpful friend to the younger classmates. In addition, Milac was part of the Environmental Club, where she would raise money and help clean up the community. She is working on integrating her culture, and her passion, into humanitarian relief work. Milac is passionate to join Meaningfulworld, and to assist in research, as well as assist in the monthly educational and empowerment programs.
Ms. Yanar holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the University of Toronto; specializing in the areas of training and development, and career transitions. Her dissertation study examined the effects of carrier barriers on the professional identity and career related experiences of immigrant professionals in the host country. She has also managed projects that have helped international professionals gain cross-cultural skills, provided unemployed Turkish women with strengths-based employability skills, and trained emerging leaders and young job seekers. Basak is a researcher, sessional lecturer, workshop facilitator, coach and a project consultant. Combining her academic passion with a keen interest in practice, Basak works with individuals, communities, and organizations to facilitate learning and growth. She believes in the power of compassion, mindfulness, and forgiveness as a platform to building trust in communities and cultivating individual and collective well-being.
Ms. Tumbling holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology at Tennessee State University. She has many research interests, including the effects of intergenerational trauma. She plans to integrate her interests in women’s issues and international travel into her life’s work of therapeutic healing and education. Shayla is a member of APA International Division 52. She plans to participate in many upcoming Humanitarian Missions with ATOP Meaningful Word. Shayla is a Graduate Mentor for ATOP of Meaningfulworld.
Ms. Soweid possesses significant global experience, is skilled in analyzing organizational and workforce challenges and proposing effective and appropriate solutions based on reliable data, feedback, and research. Based in the Middle East for over six years, Karin’s work has involved extensive travel, programmatic review and project implementation in locations throughout Eastern Africa, the Middle East, the Gulf, Europe and the United States. Over the span of those six years, Karin has worked for two diverse and emerging international organizations where she has led large-scale international human capital projects in over twenty countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Karin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having earned her Bachelor’s degree in the dual degree major of International Affairs and French. Karin is also a graduate of the University of Denver’s prestigious Josef Korbel School of International Studies graduate school program, having earned her Master’s degree in International Administration. She aims to bring an interdisciplinary approach as an emerging I/O psychologist, bringing a blend of culturally appropriate and contextualized solutions to her future clients.
Ms. Sofletea has graduated with advanced Masters of Arts and Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College – Columbia University. Her volunteer work with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of torture led her to ATOP/Meaningfulworld. A native of Romania, Georgiana cemented her interest in Trauma Psychology and Global Humanitarian Outreach working with healing ancestral trauma and working with orphans during ATOP’s Mental Health Outreach Program to Romania in October of 2011. Ms. Sofletea is currently applying for doctoral program in Counseling Psychology with a special focus on trauma and survivors of torture. She is a strong believer in the beauty of human resilience and combining compassion, spirituality and the wellness model of psychology to aid in the healing and well-being of individuals. Aside from her professional pursuits Georgiana enjoys traveling, dancing and literature, especially nonfiction biographies of immigrants. Ms. Sofletea has graduated and is a Meaningfulworld Ambassador. She is ATOP student Advisor.
Andre’ Der-Artinian is currently attending Archbishop Molloy High School. He is President of the Political Science Club and contributing member of the Model United Nations Club. He volunteered for his local Council Member Paul Vallone during his successful campaign for office. He attended Harvard University’s Precollege Program. He was nominated by his school to join the National Students Leadership Conference for Law and Politics held at Yale University, he completed it in 2015 successfully. He is passionate to make the world a better place. We welcome Andre to Meaningfulworld as a Webmaster and Fundraising associate.
Jacintha Jackson is an international undergraduate student at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, studying history and political science (pre-law), with a minor in international relations. Originally from Sierra Leone, Jacintha now resides in the UK. Jacintha intends to specialize in international human rights law, but would like to pursue other areas of law including immigration, estate, and criminal law. Her interest in global issues includes gender equality, terrorism, and sexual violence against girls and women. She is currently a summer UN intern working with ATOP Meaningfulworld and is doing research on these global matters. In the past, Jacintha has worked with Amnesty International to raise awareness of terrorism and campaign for worldwide peace. She has volunteered with the humanitarian organizations, The Navigators, and Girl Guiding, organizing recreational programs for children and youth to build their self-esteem and help them realize their full potential. Jacintha looks forward to continuing her humanitarian work with ATOP/Meaningfulworld when she returns to college in the Fall.
Fadia AbuHaltam has an MS degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and MBA degree in International Business, from New York Institute of Technology. Currently, she is a graduate student at Walden University. She has spent the last three years in Jordan, working with diverse adult populations. Utilizing Brief-Psychodynamic therapy and CBT, she helped empower clients with trauma, OCD, depression, anxiety, and many other emotional issues. Currently, she lives in New York and is supporting clients and their families coping with social, emotional, and environmental challenges. Fadia utilizes behavior modification techniques, conducts psychosocial assessments, provides clinical assessments, diagnostics, and treatment services under supervision. Fadia participated in a research study (2013-2015) in Jordan that aimed for creating a continuum model of psycho-pathology that would complement the categorical nature of DSM-V. The research study explored Narcissism with its relation to Bipolar and ADHD and validating a scale that places Narcissism in a continuum, which could assist with testing and assessment tools.
Caroline is a Senior student at Seton Hall University. She is a double major of International Relations and Modern Languages. The two main critical languages that she currently studies are Russian and Chinese. Caroline began studying Chinese upon entrance to high school and received a scholarship to study abroad in Beijing, China in 2010. Going into her last year of Undergraduate studies at Seton Hall University Caroline is excited to narrow down her area of interest and start applying to graduate studies programs in the Diplomacy/International Relations area. As an intern with Meaningfulworld Caroline is working on Fundraising and Research.
Katrina is a Masters student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Social Work. She is a graduate of Fordham University with a BA in Communications and Media Studies and a concentration in Film. She has held various positions in the communication and production fields, including work for ESPN in New York City and for Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Katrina has volunteered in the mental health services field as well and is currently placed at an internship in Philadelphia working with health services and drug addiction. She plans to continue her education, focusing on intergenerational trauma as it relates to the Ottoman Turkish Genocide of Armenians.
Natasha H. Saini, MSW Candidate, Social Media Coordinator
Natasha was born and raised in New York and is currently a Masters in Social Work graduate student at Adelphi University. She is a graduate of CUNY Queens College with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Psychology and English, and a minor in Philosophy. Natasha has volunteered with New York Public Interest Research Group to advocate for the environment and against social justice inequities. She has also been asked to represent the School of Social Work at the Graduate Student Council, co-facilitate and be on the panel for the Voter Empowerment event sponsored by Adelphi Votes, and take part of a mentoring program to model for an undergraduate student. Natasha also interns with Sheltering Arms NY, working with children in a highly traumatized area utilizing TF-CBT, CBITS, Bounce Back, and Motivational Interviewing. She is passionate about integrating trauma and social justice work by researching and providing social justice equity to marginalized groups through transformative justice. Natasha is thrilled to be given the opportunity to join Meaningful World where she can assist in research and grow as a practitioner.
Nicole is currently working on Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Development and Health & Wellness from State University of New York Binghamton. She is an international student from South Korea and is planning to finish her degree in May 2016. She has interned at two top South Korean Children’s hospitals, Adolescent Literacy and Learning and Children’s World, to improve motor and speech skills for children with learning disabilities. She was also a mentor at Johnson City Middle School, helping students to cope with their personal issues. Along with her interest to become an occupational therapist, she is passionate about Humanitarian Outreach projects for global mental health. She has been an active participant in global movement for health by volunteering for medical mission trips to Libya, India, and Vietnam with Korea University Hospital and Sarang Community Institution. She is grateful for the internship opportunity and is looking forward to working as a secretary at Meaningful World.
Lyla received her Masters in clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has extensive experience in research, in the following areas, but not limited to, developmental, cognitive and experimental psychology. She has served as a researcher at various universities such as her home university of Columbia University as well as Harvard and the University of Oxford. She has certification in Autism Spectrum Disorders and has worked previously with personality and behavioral disturbances. Presently, she is the assistant clinical coordinator for Meaningfulworld and is working on emotion recognition/empathy testing in Rwanda at the Mailman School of Public Health.
Natalia Irvine, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from West Virginia University in May 2014, currently enrolled to begin classes for Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology degree beginning in August 2016. Currently, work at the Hospital for Special Surgery on the Upper East Side. I’m a member of the outreach committee at ATOP! Meaningfulworld welcomes Natalia on the Outreach Committee.
Mr. Shigemoto received his BA in Social Work in 2007 from Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan, and MA in clinical psychology from Penn State Harrisburg. After working as an outpatient therapist at a private counseling center in Pennslyvania, he is studying counseling psychology in a doctoral program at Texas Tech University. His research interest includes resiliency after disaster/trauma, posttraumatic growth, and a process of personal growth. He was an intern of APA at the UN, and he has received a certificate in Post Disaster Humanitarian Outreach from ATOP. In 2013, with Dr. Senel Poyrazli at Penn State Harrisburg, he published a paper entitled, “Factors related to posttraumatic growth in U.S. and Japanese college students.”
Huizhuoran Ma, aka Sophia, was born in Hangzhou, China and has made her passion to pursue her college education in New York. She is now a sophomore student at Fordham University. She currently majors in psychology and also interested in social work. In China, Sophia has volunteered in several places, including building a library for a primary school in the countryside. She hoped to take her passion to serve and help people in their healing journey, especially those with psychological distress, may that be for natural causes or human-made ones.
Brianda Quinones was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and is currently living in Astoria, Queens. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a BS in Political Science. She has worked simultaneously at the Colorado Organization for Victim’s Assistance and the Denver City Attorney’s Office.She worked as victims advocate, specifically, as a domestic violence advocate. She helped counsel victims and helped the city attorney’s come up with plausible plea bargains. This past year, Brianda worked at the state capitol in Colorado as constituent services advocate for Governor Hickenlooper. She describes the moment she helped young women find an organization who would help her pay for her grandmother’s chemotherapy sessions as her most memorable experience as a constituent advocate. Social Media is Brianda’s focus as an intern with Meaningfulworld.
Jennifer Doran, Publications Coordinator
Ms. Doran is finishing up her M.A. degree in clinical psychology at The New School for Social Research in New York City. She works for the federally-funded BI-SLR HEARTS Program at Beth Israel Medical Center and holds an internship position as the Publication Coordinator for the Association of Trauma Outreach and Prevention. She is an inaugural Member of the Science Committee of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, and the Co-Chair of APA’s Division 52 Student Committee. She conducts research on the impact of trauma in international populations affected by disaster, traumatic stress in children and adolescents, negotiating the therapeutic alliance, psychometrics, and student excellence and development. Finally, she is in her second term as Co-Editor for the New School Psychology Bulletin, a peer-reviewed graduate student journal designed to serve as a training model for participating students.
Rachel Townzen is pursuing a Master of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania with a certificate in Global Human Rights. She is actively involved in multiple human rights focused student organizations, participates in the Greater Philadelphia United Nations Association, is a digital advocate for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, and volunteers as a copy writer and social media contributor for TEDx Yerevan. In addition to her role as a research and global humanitarian awareness intern with ATOP/ Meaningfulworld, Rachel has a field placement at an immigration legal service agency as an asylum case manager. In the past, she has worked with humanitarian immigrants in Denver, Colorado, and served as a cultural mentor for a newly arrived refugee family. She has also interned in the UK and The Republic of Armenia and worked extensively with children with special needs. Rachel grew up outside Boston, MA, and graduated summa cum laude from Boston College in 2014 with a major in applied psychology & human development and minor in sociology. After graduation, Rachel plans to continue working with refugees and pursue a career in an international humanitarian NGO. Meaningfulworld welcomes Rachel Townzen as Research and Global Humanitarian Awareness Intern.
Gabriela is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). She received MA in International Law and LLM Human Rights from the University of Louvain in Belgium. Her studies have been on International Humanitarian Law, International Environment Law and International Human Rights Law focusing on the rights of children recruited as soldiers, and the human right to water and sanitation. She is also interested in other areas such as sociology and philosophy, as well as the arts, both fine and performing arts, and its impact on humanity. That is why she sees herself not only working with the judicial system as a way of evaluating guilt and responsibilities for damage and harm, but also with arts, sports, and other activities as instruments for preventing new conflicts. Gabriela is passionate about the philosophy of Meaningfulworld, more specifically about nurturing a generation of conscientious individuals motivated by love, peace, justice, human rights, and meaning, and looks forward to continue her research to co-create a peaceful world.
Born in Jamaica and of Nigerian descent, Isreal Adeyanju knows full well the importance of being an active global citizen. Isreal is a graduate from the City College of New York with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics with a focus on Public Policy. Isreal’s passions are routed in social justice and youth empowerment as he has been a part of numerous outreach programs and humanitarian trips. Isreal is also an avid socialpreneur as a founding member of Enza Academy- a startup missioned to bridge the gap between the African diaspora and the tech and entrepreneurship world- and currently working on an African based fashion line among other ventures. Isreal is excited to share his passions with the Meaningfulworld team and brings his talents to the United Nations as an intern representative for Meaningfulworld. Isreal represents Meaningfulworld at the UN committees on Child’s Rights, Family, Migration and the Status of Women (CSW). He also facilitates communication between the UN missions to Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, DR Congo, and Nigeria.
Diana Perez, “Jolliologist” and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, has worked in Corporate America for 28 years as a trainer, team builder, facilitator and motivational speaker. Diana is a graduate of Centenary College, majoring in Business Management, and obtained her Laughter Leader Certification through the American School of Laughter Yoga in 2009. A passionate and charismatic teacher, Diana is best known for her ability to empower and help people rediscover hope and spiritual strength in times of illness and crisis. She has shared her laughter yoga skills with major companies, including AT&T, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, as well as many senior/retirement centers and hospitals. She volunteers her laughter skills to organizations involving cancer support for patients and their caregivers and the American Heart Association. Diana is currently an active participant in a global movement for health, joy and world peace through laughter, under the guidance of Laughter Yoga International led by its founder Dr. Madan Kataria.
Mrs. Mukasa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Social Administration from UCU Uganda and Master’s in Social Work from SUNY University at Albany. She has been working as a social worker with over 6 years of experience counseling and advocating for at risk children and advocate for families. Her interests are healing trauma, transforming child and adolescent depression, mindfulness, psychodynamic solution focused therapy, working with individuals with ADHD and PTSD. She was the Ambassador of Peace in 2007 from the Interfaith Missionary in New York. Currently, she is a Clinical Intern at PSCH, in Flushing, Queen. Mrs. Mukasa is a Graduate Intern and she will be the Press Secretary for ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Ms. Campbell is an ordained Interfaith Minister and an Interfaith Disaster Chaplain whose main focus and passion is supporting trauma survivors, and in particular, veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and transitioning back into civilian and family life. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Management and Development, as well as an Evidence-Based Coaching Certificate, both from Fielding Graduate University. Ms. Campbell has spent most of her professional life in the fast-paced commercial construction project management. Becoming abruptly ill in 2003 and diagnosed with an acute chronic condition, Michele embraced a journey of wholeness, increased awareness, and redirection to her early calling and passion to serve the oppressed, underprivileged and underserved. Ms. Campbell considers some of her most formative experiences to be: Her attendance at the United Nations International School in New York City, a vibrant multi-cultural community focused on issues of economic and social justice in the midst of which she had the fortune to come of age; her first job out of college, at the Rockefeller Foundation, which further exposed her to the challenges of poverty, privilege, education and justice and fostered within her a sense of communal responsibility to “do something” about them; her exposure to the work of Victor Frankl at a crucial point in her own healing, and which is now informing her own work; and raising a 21 year old daughter as a mostly single mother. Ms. Campbell will be ATOP Meaningfulworld Intern Coordinator.
Ms. Shah has completed her MA and EdM in Psychological Counseling at Columbia University, Teachers College in May 2012. She has always had an interest in global outreach and international work and has aspirations to combine this passion with counseling and research work. Her research interests lie within global mental health; specifically, trauma and resilience cross-culturally, family dynamics in vulnerable international populations and therapeutic interventions for vulnerable populations. Ms. Shah served as a research assistant at the NYU/Bellevue Survivors of Torture program and hopes to continue learning and contributing to the field of global mental health and working with refugees, asylees, and survivors of torture and trauma. She has been inspired by scholars, researchers, and clinicians in the field and hopes to make a stronger impact in the future with a Doctoral Degree in Counseling Psychology, focusing on global mental health and well-being on both clinical and research levels.
Mr. Voronov is an associate at a consulting firm in Hillsborough, New Jersey. In January 2010 he graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Oleg was born and raised in Volgograd, Russia, and later lived for 7 years in Israel. Since 2001 he has been residing in the New York City area. Oleg has a variety of responsible roles within the organization such as compiling the Annual Report, lay out and editing of ATOP’s Seasonal Newsletter, attending and writing press releases at a variety of conferences and United Nations Representative. We welcome Oleg as a Graduate Intern to our dedicated team.
Ms. Kola is a Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Clinical Counseling from Bellevue University, in Nebraska, and Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from Madurai Kamaraj University (India). She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in International Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, concentrating in trauma, and recently engaged in international field experience in Peru to enhance her professional interests in trauma. Her current dissertation focus is on understanding the concept of forgiveness after acts of violence (survivors of genocide in Rwanda). Ms. Kola also serves as a current student Ambassador club member at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her interest in trauma has recently led her to join ATOP/Meaningfulworld as the Editor of the Newsletter.
Mr. Oreizi is currently working on a Masters Degree in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the University of Oregon School of Law; he plans to graduate in June 2013. Justin recently completed his Bachelors Degree in American History from the University of Hawaii. Justin plans to involve himself with the rest of his career focusing on youth empowerment in third world countries. He plans on utilizing his new found appreciation of non profit organizations as well as honing his skills in fundraising and grant writing. Justin also holds a mediation training certificate and is excited about integration of his mediation education through his internship with ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Evelyn holds a medical degree from her Native Dominican Republic as well as a double Master’s degree from Western Michigan University in Public Administration and International Development. Her main focus has been International Health Care Services, and in particular the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs aimed at averting preventable diseases in developing countries. This interest was largely influenced by her year-long tenure with the National Program against Malaria in the Dominican Republic, during which time she worked with diverse populations in malaria endemic regions, and became exposed to and deeply affected by the repercussions of social injustice. She came to realize that achieving access to healthcare for the entire population was a challenging task, and individuals devoted to this cause were very much in need. She truly believes that access to quality healthcare is a right for every individual and should not be a purchased good in any society. One of her desires is to be able to travel globally and attain real-life experience of the impact these programs on various individuals and populations. We welcome Evelyn as the new Coordinator of our Research and Grants Committees.
Prior to joining ATOP / Meaningfulworld, Abu received a Masters in Science in Agricultural & Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. In addition, he helped develop and implement the Win-Win Campaign pilot program for the non-profit, Envirolution. Abu joined the team because his goals of empowering others is well aligned with ATOP’s mission. As Research, Social Media and Grants intern, his focus at ATOP Meaningfulworld is to help streamline procedures, reduce program costs, increase impact, improve program effectiveness, and assist on grant proposals. In his free time, Abu participates in a daily photo blog project, which keeps him sharply observant, mindful of his surroundings and appreciative of the small and simple things in everyday life. You can follow him and cheer him on Instagram.com/sustainabu. ATOP Meaningfulworld welcomes Abu to our Social Media and Fundraising Committee.
Alanna was born in San Francisco, California before moving abroad to live in England, Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. Alanna is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Business and Political Economy at New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business. She is particularly interested in trauma outreach for young children and the environmental and economic effects of humanitarian crises. At ATOP Meaningfulworld, Alanna serves as the Assistant Clinical Coordinator. In this position, she works with the clinical program in the area of business development, PR, outreach, and grant writing.
Blanka Angyal is an ethnic Hungarian who grew up in Romania and eventually emigrated to the U.S. ten years ago. She received an undergraduate degree in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and more recently, graduated with an advanced Masters of Arts and Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. Blanka has a broad range of skills and experience, including an internship with the Harlem Educational Activities Fund; counseling work with college transfer students, severely impaired homeless women, and inner-city after students; as well as Participatory Action Research (PAR) work with youth, elderly, and minority communities. She has also assisted the supervision of PAR facilitator teams in two Bronx middle schools and has collaborated with the Department of Counseling at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in starting their own PAR initiative.Currently, Blanka is seeking to contribute in a more meaningful way through practice and research. She recently participated in an ATOP humanitarian outreach mission to the Middle East where she had a unique opportunity to observe and help facilitate the healing of diverse communities exposed to acute and chronic trauma. ATOP Meaningfulworld welcomes Blanka our Clinical Coordinator and Research.
Victoria received her B.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations, with a minor in French, from Seton Hall University. She began her academic career at La Salle University where, during her freshman year, she volunteered for a young grassroots organization, Explorers Sans Frontiers. As a student leader for ESF, Victoria organized fundraisers and community events and ultimately participated in a service trip to Senegal where she realized her true passion to promote human rights and human security for underserved populations. Victoria recently completed a semester abroad in Strasbourg, France, where she also interned and completed a thesis on human trafficking in the post-Soviet bloc. Also during her time abroad, she received an International Peace Scholarship to observe peace building initiatives at the Annual BCA Divided Societies Conference in Derry, Ireland. Returning home for her final undergraduate semester, she worked as a Planned Giving Intern for Amnesty International and completed senior her thesis on “Social Movements and the Deterioration of Human Security in the Arab Spring.” Victoria looks forward to pursuing a joint MSW/JD degree focusing on forced migration and refugee law within the next year.
Laura is currently an undergraduate student at the Universidad Javeriana (UJ) in Bogota, Colombia where she is studying Communications in two areas of concentration: Advertising and Public Relations. As part of UJ’s Mision Pais Colombia program, Laura has brought assistance to families and communities in areas most affected by violence and poverty. In 2007, Laura volunteered with Hands across the Americas as a simultaneous translator between doctors and Colombian patients. These experiences have fueled her passion for humanitarian work, as well as a great desire to learn more and share this work with others. In her bachelor’s thesis, Laura developed a trans-media model for nonprofit organizations focused on developing narrative strategies across media and social media platforms. Her professional goals include organizational management and leadership, and working for the rights of indigenous minorities in her native Columbia. Her ultimate goal is to create an organization that assists refugees of war and large-scale violence, as well as other vulnerable populations. Her personal goals include traveling the world, gaining the experience of different cultures, and yoga training in India as part of her spiritual quest.
Carol Raff is a retired school social worker with over thirty years of experience counseling and advocating for school aged children. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers’s University and is currently conducting social history evaluations for nonpublic schools in Passaic County, N.J. Carol is an energetic physical fitness specialist and YogaFit instructor. She is currently teaching yoga to senior citizens, cancer patients at Hackensack University Medical Center and psychiatric hospital patients at Christian Health Care Center. Carol also serves as a volunteer for ‘Mentoring Moms’, which is a program for mothers who have been involved in the Bergen County Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Carol is a loyal, honest and personable individual who is committed to a job well done. As for her personal life, Carol enjoys playing tennis, leading bicycle rides for the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey and sharing time with her five granddaughters! We welcome Carol as a United Nations Representative to ATOP Meaningfulworld’s UN Team as well as the Representative to the Armenian Constitutional Rights Protective Center.
Katherine Kaze is a United Nations Mentor and former United Nations Main Liaison for Meaningfulworld, a position she has held since 2009. Katherine most recently served professionally as an operative at the United States Mission to the United Nations and is currently employed with a private financial firm where she provides consulting services across commodity markets. With 3 years in field experience among high-level international professionals at the United Nations, United States government, and the international NGO community, she is poised to provide critical insight towards regional developments in disaster-faced communities. Ms. Kaze received a BA in Economics and Political Science from Fordham University in New York City, in addition, to independently pursued business and management certification. Through ATOP Meaningfulworld, she has been fortunate enough to collaborate on several publicized projects in Africa, including an analysis of trauma in communities in Sierra Leone and Kenya. She has led a humanitarian outreach with Meaningfulworld to Haiti in 2010 and participated in a Humanitarian Outreach Mission to Armenia in 2013.
Ms. Temurcu was managing family-owned jewelry business specializing in customer relations and administration for over twenty years. Jaklin came to Meaningfulworld with a quest to add meaning to her life by serving her community. Currently, she is an intern for special projects, “Sponsor a Child Project,” for ATOP/Meaningfulworld.
Ms. Avendano-Garces was born in Medellin, Colombia. At the age of 11, Natalia and her family arrived in the United States of America to start a new life. She recently completed her Baccalaureate Degree in Psychology at The City College of New York. Her interest is to have a career in which she can make a difference in a person’s life. Natalia’s passion is to become a special education teacher and help children succeed academically addressing their specific needs. Her interest in children and the importance of their development began while working as a teacher’s assistant. Natalia joined the ATOP team in January 2012 and is naturally working with the Youth Empowerment Program. She would eventually love to participate in many Humanitarian Missions with ATOP Meaningfulworld. She is looking forward to helping others through ATOP Meaningfulworld.
Ms. Ackie graduated with honors, magna cum laude from Howard University where she majored in Film Production and minored in Political Science. Her research on the “Prison Industrial Complex” was published with the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. She has a great passion for the performing arts, including music and documentary film, and volunteerism. She previously volunteered on post-disaster missions in Tohoku, Japan and New Orleans, LA. She’s a New York Cares volunteer who works on varying projects such as record books for individuals who are blind and dyslexic and soup kitchens. Ms. Ackie has a certificate in basic mediation and currently training to be a New York State certified Mediator and Arbitrator. As an intern with ATOP Meaningfulworld, she works on fundraising projects, attends proposal writing workshops, and participates in monthly Humanitarian Psychosocial Outreach Programs. Ms. Ackie is committed to being a change agent through research, fundraising, the performing arts, meditation, and outreach.
Ms. Marku holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tirana, Albania. While she was a student she interned at the Mental Development Community Center in Albania. Her passion is to pursue social justice and equal rights for everyone regardless of gender, race, or social class. She embraces the internship at ATOP as a precious opportunity to expand her knowledge and further develop her skills in the field of social work. Currently, Ms. Marku works in the tourism field communicating with a multilingual clientele, which brings richness to her work. Ms. Marku’s ambition is to soon pursue a master’s degree and devote her passion to social work. Her mission is to serve herself, her community, and humanity at large. Serving people, in any way possible, is Blerina’s ultimate goal. Blerina Marku will be a Public Relations Intern.
Ms. Martinez is a recent Temple University graduate with a BA in Political Science. Her main study focus has been on the Middle East and she currently has an intermediate level understanding of Arabic that she wishes to develop further. She has also focused on holistic healing methods as well as hip hop activism through her studies. Empowerment through education is important to Katrina and she is committed to continue working on healing and empowering children around the globe. Katrina is a UN intern with ATOP, representing the organization at various meetings. She sees ATOP as a very progressive family that can set a beautiful example for others to want to emulate and hopes that she can help make this happen.
Jessica was born in Peru and after being adopted she came to the United States. She graduated in June 2012 with a B.A in Psychology from the City College of New York. Jessica’s research on individuals who leave the Hasidic faith will be published this fall 2012 in the undergraduate student journal for the Michael and Irene Ross Program in Jewish Studies at the City College of New York. She is currently working on her Masters degree in Psychology also at the The City College of New York. Her wish is to focus mainly in the areas of international psychology and the psychology of individuals who are intellectually and developmentally disabled. She has previously interned at AHRC, which offers individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities a variety of services and opportunities. Jessica is passionate about Meaningfulworlds’ mission and their global outreach projects. In addition to research and fundraising internship, Jessica will also be working with the Youth Empowerment Program.
Victoria Alexander is a recent cum laude graduate of SUNY University at Buffalo with a BA in Psychology and also holds an AAS in Fashion Merchandising Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She recently studied in Greece for a year and has traveled to multiple countries for work and recreation. Victoria comes from a multicultural family: Spanish, Greek and Italian and she loves to meet new people and finds it important to learn about cultures other than her own. After working as an undergraduate research assistant at UB, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University as volunteer, she now works full time as a Research Data Associate at the NYU Medical Center in PTSD division under the supervision of Dr. Charles Marmar, NYU Chair of Psychiatry. Victoria’s career goals include working with multicultural populations, and developing efforts to help people transform their traumatic experiences. Ultimately she wishes to work as a Clinical Psychologist for a humanitarian outreach organization possibly affiliated with the UN.
Ms. Kearns always had an open spirit and love for people. In her twenties, she bought an around the world plane ticket and began a 3-year adventure. She had previously worked in television syndication but upon her return to NY she entered the fields of head-hunting for lawyers and eventually worked in real estate. Simultaneously Jane trained in numerous holistic healing modalities such as The Barbara Brennan School of Healing, The Institute of Core Energetics, Integrated Kabbalistic Healing and most recently Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution work. Over the years she has gained deep insight on transformation and healing of the whole self. She currently provides counseling and healing to individuals in NYC and supports others on their journey to wholeness. Jane is currently working on her thesis for completion of her masters degree from SUNY New Paltz where she studied Counseling Psychology, provided psychological counseling to college students and implemented campus workshops on stress management and awareness of cultural diversity.
Shana’s professional path has been inspired by her mother’s work in identifying the components of the educational achievement gap. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Spelman College, Shana served in an AmeriCorps City Year Inc. program, where she worked as a tutor, mentor, and role model to help students stay on track and graduate. Being a full-time presence in the lives of these youth helped them thrive and strive for excellence, and she gathered further evidence that political, social and economic equality is the gateway to allowing all people to move forward. Prior to her acceptance into the National Urban Fellows Program, Shana served as the Creative Director of Academic Pathways, a community-based non-profit organization that serves students in lower Westchester and all five New York City boroughs. In that role, she developed expertise in grant writing and created leadership and community opportunities for students. Shana seeks to continue working within the non-profit sector, serving underserved communities on a national level. Her five-year goal is to create diverse intergenerational programs and solicit the funds needed to run these innovative endeavors. As she believes that the greatest work is teaching children with love, Shana’s goal is to help young people achieve their dreams and reach their full academic potential.
Susanna is a pre-law student majoring in Accounting with minors in Economics, Philosophy, and French. Her long-term goals include a career in international human rights law. From a very young age, Susanna knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Being a firsthand witness to injustice during her extensive travels have only served to strengthen her passion to advocate on behalf of human rights. Susanna believes that many international issues such as poverty, violence, illiteracy, and malnutrition are 100% preventable, and yet remain unresolved. Over time, she hopes to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to have a positive impact in regions of the world where oppression and poverty are commonplace. She shares Meaningfulworld’s passion and commitment to developing and fostering effective methods for peace building, humanitarian outreach, and approaching complex global problems with compassion, love, and respect for all. Susanna cannot foresee a career with any greater reward than one which allows her to use her technical skills while contributing toward humanitarian causes.
Margaret is currently a Paralegal at the Law Offices of Ted Sofer, an Immigration Law firm. In the past, she worked as a Communications Assistant for WILPF’s PeaceWomen Programme at the UN office. In this role, she spearheaded PeaceWomen Enews, Communications, and social media outreach and assisted with WILPF Campaigns and activism including WILPF’s work during CSW 57, ATT negotiations and attended several UN panel discussions on women, peace and security. She was also a Program and Resource Development Intern for Teen Support Line. In this position, she researched potential foundations and grant-making institutions and assisted with proposal writing including letters of inquiry and coordinating a fundraising event. She received her Bachelors of Arts from Syracuse University with majors in International Relations, Political Science, and European Literature. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in the Model United Nations Club and was selected as Student Delegate for the National Model United Nations Team and the National Model United Nations Conference.
Anne was born and raised in Ireland and is currently living in New Jersey with her husband and two lovely children. She is a graduate of University College Dublin with a degree in Business and Economics. Currently, she is working in the aviation industry while looking to transition to a more gratifying career. Growing up near the border between north and south witnessed first-hand how conflict deeply affected people on both sides and became involved with her father in helping children who lost family members during that time. Anne is involved with the ministry for the homebound in her local town doing grocery shopping and running errands for the elderly who are unable to leave their house. She enjoys theatre and has participated in numerous plays and sketch comedies. Meaningfulworld welcomes Anne Molloy as an Internship Coordinator. Mikaella Caruncho Mikaella is an Undergraduate student at New York University College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Anthropology with Minor in Public Health. She has spent every year since birth traveling to the Philippines and other neighboring Southeast Asian countries where she witnessed the beauty of different cultures firsthand and developed a passion for traveling and humanitarian work. She interned for United Way whilst studying abroad in Ghana. It was there that she was able to develop skills necessary to pursue research work and administrative work in an NGO, particularly in the area of public health.
Alessia is in New York for the summer from Italy. She graduated this year with a Master’s of Science Degree in Linguistic Sciences for International Relations from Cattolicia University in Milan. Her Bachelor’s Degree was in Foreign Languages and Literature, specifically English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. Her dream is to work with other cultures around the world and to be part of an international team that brings assistance to families and communities affected by violence and poverty. Back in her hometown of Verona, she was a Leo Club member. With the Leo Club, she has been involved in various fundraising efforts helping people and organizations within her community. She has also spent some time volunteering in a municipality program in Verona teaching immigrants the Italian language.
Julia is pursuing a BA in Psychology and Perspectives on Religion and Spirituality at the University of Michigan and will be graduating in 2015. This combination focuses on a number of areas which she is passionate about: individual spiritual development, peaceful and productive conflict resolution, intergroup relations between people of different perspectives and contexts and alternative methods of healing and therapy. Julia has contributed to research focused on the presence of mindfulness and compassion in the corporate world, as well as recently conducting a research project in Cape Town, South Africa that explored the effects of mindfulness meditation on cognition and anxiety. In addition to her internship with Meaningfulworld Julia is also currently working with The Horticultural Society for NY in a horticultural therapy program for detainees and sentenced inmates on Rikers Island.
Sherene is in New York for the summer from Minnesota. She is currently a student of the University of Minnesota majoring in Political Science with minor concentrations in Social Justice and Leadership. Sherene has volunteered in numerous capacities over the years. She had a wonderful experience traveling across America with Students Today Leaders Forever helping out in local projects in underprivileged neighborhoods. In Minnesota she donates her time in a social justice theatre program helping young adults voice their thoughts and fears through theatre. She also volunteers in a local hospital. Her ultimate goal is to enter into the field of human rights and assist people in achieving their civil liberties in the United States and around the world. She is especially passionate about women’s and children’s rights in countries of political and economic turmoil.
Courtney is currently pursuing her Undergraduate Degree in Political Science and International Studies at Ramapo College, New Jersey. She is very involved at her school through Student Government and Peer Mentoring. She was born and raised in Freehold, New Jersey. She has always taken an active role in her community volunteering her time at the food pantry and fundraising for Breast Cancer awareness events. In college, she has become involved in a program to clean up Ramapo’s campus and also with Peer Facilitation. Her ultimate goal is to work for the UN in helping others around the world who are less fortunate than her. She enjoys traveling and meeting new people and cultures. She looks forward to focusing on human rights once she graduates college.
Currently, Donna is in the technology industry working as a mobility application consultant. She started her career in business after graduating from Salve Regina College. However, after several years in business, Donna trained and graduated from Peter Kump Culinary School and followed a career path in the culinary arts. Working in various businesses in the food industry, she ultimately opened her own restaurant. Through life’s challenges, she became very involved working with cancer patients from a nutritional and wellbeing perspective offering cooking, menu planning, meditation techniques etc. Her work led her to study Sound and Vibration Therapy and Holistic Health Consulting; she became certified in the healing arts. Donna combined these modalities and worked as a private yacht chef in New England. Her desire to share her expertise and make a difference on a global scale, led her back to New York City to pursue opportunities around wellness and well-being for the mind, body, and soul. Donna is also proficient in mobility applications and wireless technologies.
Liya Zhu is a graduate student of Stony Brook University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Literature and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. She believes that her education together with her social service experience has provided her with professional insights in performing tasks associated with policy analysis, education, language and social work. From a very young age Liya has been involved in voluntary work with International not-for-profit organizations such as the Red Cross and Vitality Community Fund. She has also taught English in New Oriental, Chinas largest English education services provider in China. Liya’s worldwide life experiences have prepared her to become a social worker and an educator. She is dedicated to serving and empowering disadvantaged individuals and groups throughout the world through education and communication.
Gilberte Bastien, MA, PhD, Coordinator, Grant Committee
A clinical psychologist and Haiti native, Dr. Gilberte (“Gigi”) Bastien completed her Bachelors in Science in psychology at Xavier University in Louisiana and her doctoral studies at University of Mississippi. She completed a predoctoral internship with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare system and a postdoctoral psychology residency with the San Diego VA Healthcare System. Her research and clinical interests focus on the intersection of culture and mental health with the aim of improving accessibility, acceptability, and efficacy of mental health services for underserved populations. Dr. Bastien’s complimentary interests in disaster mental health and global mental health capacity building were largely influenced by her involvement in the mental health response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. During her stint as a health policy Fellow of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI), Dr. Bastien gained invaluable training in health leadership and the use of effective strategies for advancing policy solutions to mental health and broader health disparities both domestically and globally. This training was brought to bear in completing an NIH Fogarty Global Health Fellowship project focusing on mental health and resilience in Ebola affected communities in Liberia. Dr. Bastien’s experiences during the Fogarty fellowship further strengthened her interest in leveraging large-scale emergencies as a pathway to addressing mental health disparities in LMICs and other resource-constrained settings. Currently, Dr. Bastien serves as the Associate Director for Global Health for SHLI and is working towards a faculty appointment within Morehouse School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
Christine Overton PhD Board of Directors
British by birth and a US citizen, Overton is the first woman President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey, USA and brings to the ATOP Board of Directors at the UN, 28 years of international business expertise. She served as a mediator to the 585 federally recognized Native American Indian Nations for several years and works closely with the Asian Indian community in NJ and India. Her projects have been recognized with 6 letters from U.S. Congress for business development and over 45 business, film making and humanitarian awards throughout Europe, America and India – including a Scroll of Honor from 4 Rotary International clubs in Pune, India, for her excellence in business acumen, global humanitarian work in the field of avoidable blindness and cornea donation and for the Indo-American relationship formed. Overton has worked with key global humanitarian outreach programs following major catastrophes, and actively campaigns to stop elderly abuse, premature birth, genocide, the discarding of important organs for donation and unnecessary cruelty to animals. With her unique gift for wildlife rehabilitation, Overton is particularly passionate about the care of all domestic and wildlife victims of war. She advises Government and community leaders to show compassion and understanding to animals and birds who contribute positively to the overall ecology and rehabilitation of the country, its people and for the world’s ecological balance. Overton’s Degrees and Diplomas are in theology, music, business administration and leadership. She is a 2009 graduate of the Gillette Area Citizen’s Police Academy and a graduate of the Gillette Area Leadership Institute in Wyoming, USA. As a certified Abider in dignified hospice care- Overton is trained to sit with people in their last few hours of life so they do not die alone. Following significant time in solitary retreat and study with leaders from all religious backgrounds and cultures, Overton is a respected meditation instructor and mentor to young adults. As a trusted mediator and strategic negotiator, Overton has successfully gathered substantial funding for global projects, which continue to evolve through community cooperation and Governmental support.
Dr. Ozichi Joel Alimole, ATOP Main Representative to the United Nations
Dr. Alimole is a retired career diplomat, professional Mediator, and Consultant. A first class honors graduate of the University of Nigeria, Dr. Alimole possesses M.A. and Ph.D. from the universities of Saskatchewan and Ottawa respectively. He holds diploma/certificates in International Development Cooperation, Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Conflict Analysis. Dr.Alimole has a passion for Conflict Management. He has participated in several workshops/training programs on African Conflict Resolution and the Enhancement of African Peacekeeping Capabilities. He was involved in mediation efforts in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Darfur. Dr.Alimole is the author of three books including Diplomacy: the Written Art.
Latoya C. Conner, New Chair of Grant Committee
Dr. Latoya C. Conner is a licensed psychologist in New York, Maryland, and Washington, DC. She completed her B.S. degree in psychology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; her M.A., M.Ed., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College; and an APA-accredited clinical/ community psychology internship at Yale University School of Medicine, The Consultation Center. Following a research post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, Dr. Conner completed a Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery Certification Program sponsored by Harvard University Medical School, Program on Refugee Trauma and the Ministry of Health of Italy. Dr Conner has clinical and research expertise in the areas of grief and bereavement, health disparities, HIV/AIDS, sexual health, drug abuse among adolescents, youth activism and social justice, empowerment focused-psychotherapy, indigenous forms of coping, and resilience.
Janet Kearney, Coordinator for Training and Educational Programs
Ms. Kearney, originally from Ireland, has a keen interest in practicing Human Rights Law within the European Union. She is currently transitioning from corporate accounting to law as she is studying the Common Law System and European Union Law at the College of Law in the United Kingdom. Janet has worked with many charitable humanitarian organizations that aid countries struck by natural and human-made disasters and is an active member of the United Nations Association, Human Rights Campaigns, and various European Human Rights Organizations.
George Kalpaxis, Graduate Research Intern
Kalpaxis was born and raised in Kalamata, Greece and immigrated to upstate New York with his family in his early teens. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Siena College, an Ms.ED in counseling children and adolescents from the College of Saint Rose, and is currently in his third year of Doctoral Studies at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago where he is pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, concentrating in Diversity and International Studies. His current dissertation focus is on the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma with Cambodian refugees who survived Khmer Rouge. He is heavily involved at the Cambodian Association of Illinois where he is working on his current research and has taught English and Computer Skills to Cambodian Adults. He also volunteers at Heartland Alliance teaching English to refugees from various parts of the world. As Vice President of the International Cross-Cultural Awareness support group at his school, he strives to promote diversity amongst students and faculty and create a sense of camaraderie and cultural sensitivity in the community.
Kelsi Kimball, BS, Research and Grant Writing Graduate Intern
Ms.Kimball is currently completing her Master’s degree at Columbia University in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. In addition to her academic pursuits, she is also training to become a certified Health Coach and Yoga Teacher. Ms.Kimball is passionate about applying an integrative approach to healing and trauma recovery and has a specific research focus in families, couples, and other intimate interpersonal relationships. Ms.Kimball is a trained Mediator and has lead and participated in a number of conflict resolution training and seminars. She has spent time volunteering at the Christmas Box House, a facility for abused or neglected children, as well as danced in over 75 charity events for organizations such as The Make a Wish Foundation of America, Schriners Children’s Hospital, Art With Heart, Huntsman Cancer Institute and much more. Ms. Kimball is grateful to be interning at ATOP Meaningfulworld where she gets the privilege to take part in advocating for the integrative healing of others, a pursuit extremely close to her heart.
Marla Casamassa MCA, NYIT, BFA, Vice President for Development
Ms. Casamassa is a graduate of CWPost, LIU, Magna Cum Lande. She has 26 years of experience with SRACCT Sales executive-multimillion dollar organization. Owner of gourmet deli (11 years) licensed Health +Life Insurance sales executive for 21 states. Currently, she is pursuing psychic phenomena and energy field science. Marla is serving as the Vice President for Development, specifically working on securing grants for ATOP/Meaningfulworld.
Julie Lira, United Nations Main Representative & Coordinator, UN Reps & Interns
Reverend Lira spent a majority of her life performing, appearing on Broadway, and with many dance companies across the US and abroad. She is also a highly regarded teacher, specializing in working with children in the arts. Recently she turned her attention to her work as an Interfaith Minister. Currently, she is the Dean of the second year students at the New Seminary. Reverend Lira was honored with the “Anna Festa” Award given in recognition for willingness to bring concepts of Interfaith to the world, specifically to Sierra Leone in Africa. She is a graduate of ATOP Humanitarian Service Program and Meaningfulworld Ambassador.
Dana L Mark, MSW, Membership Coordinator
Dana L Mark is licensed in NY & NJ and a graduate of Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work. Ms. Mark is an Interfaith Minister working with various populations including geriatrics, domestic violence, the prison system & the psychiatric population. She was awarded” Ambassador of Peace” on two occasions. She is graduate of ATOP training; a bioenergetics practitioner (since 2006); & Reiki practitioner (since 1998). Ms. Mark was on ATOP Humanitarian Mission for Sierra Leone, W Africa.
Alexandra Nagy, Research Intern
Ms. Nagy has lived and traveled the world for several years. After returning to the US, she decided to pursue a career in the wellness and holistic industry by becoming an esthetician. She’s currently working at a Wellness Day Spa in Jersey City and working towards her Masters in Social Work.
Pınar Özbek, M.A., Ed.M. Curriculum Coordinator
Ms. Özbek is a Fulbright scholar from Istanbul, Turkey. She received a Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Currently, she is a vocational counselor at Vida Family Services where she works with individuals recovering from substance-related disorders. She also volunteers in a psychiatric rehabilitation program under F.E.G.S. Health and Human Services System. Pinar is the Humanitarian Outreach Coordinator/Conference Coordinator for ATOP.
Jennifer De Mucci, Research Committee, PsyD
Ms. De Mucci holds a Master’s degree in Psychology. Her main areas of interests focus upon: international and cross-cultural psychology and the impact of generational transmission of trauma, particularly on young children. Her current research through Meaningfulworld has focused upon the psychological impact of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols and the benefits of empowerment and forgiveness training within the Republic of Armenia. She is working on Research Committee.
Tochi Anueayiagu, International Intern, UN intern
Ms. Anueayiagu is a 20-year-old Fordham student from Nigeria currently studying Political Science. She is a UN intern at Meaningful World and looks forward to future endeavors with the organization.
Danielle Caminneci, Events/Correspondence Coordinator
Ms.Caminneci is an undergraduate student at St. Johns University. Her major is psychology and her minor is international relations. Danielle plans on obtaining her doctorate degree in psychology and plans to conduct research around the world to connect global citizens and help guide communities lead a healthy life. Danielle is an enthusiastic intern for ATOP of Meaningfulworld. She is the Events Coordinator and Correspondence Coordinator. She loves working with people and is looking forward to connecting other people with this organization. Danielle is currently volunteering in Cusco, Peru.
Dr. Nguyen is currently a clinical psychologist who works in private practice and at a high school in New York. She is passionate about improving the delivery of behavioral health services in underserved and immigrant communities. She is particularly interested in understanding intergenerational trauma, and hopes to use her knowledge to bring assistance and restorative justice to impacted communities globally. Dr Nguyen has worked extensively with disadvantaged populations throughout the country. She also helped create a sustainable model for behavioral change in rural villages in Vietnam.Dr. Nguyen is currently a candidate at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and received her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.